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1:14:03 Duration

Shooting in Small Spaces

Today we shoot live from Nikki Closser’s garage studio in Seattle. We’ll explore working with small space and light.

My first studio in 2001 was a converted country garage that was 63 square meters (675 square feet) which is over twice the size of Nikki’s space today. When you are confident shooting in small spaces, you can have great business success in modest surroundings.

I have seen people start portrait businesses in lounges and living rooms and garages and local parks. It doesn’t really matter. I have done a $3,800 sale on a laptop at Starbucks. YOUR CLIENTS JUST WANT TO FEEL GOOD and be seen as important. ANYBODY is capable of providing that no matter how humble their modest studio.


  1. For my first video as a member, this was inspiring. After a few years as a dedicated newborn photographer, I am ready to downsize and switch gears. Thank you so much Sue and fellow Michigander, Nikki.

  2. Wow. You gave me goosebumps at 18:40 when I heard you say my name (I had never heard of the Tabatha hairdressing chick!) Yes! I look forward to having you come and take over my studio! My home studio is about as small as this one, so this is my fave video so far! THANK YOU, Sue and Nikki for showing me how it’s done!! 😀

  3. Okay so I asked this in the Facebook group but didn’t get a response. Maybe you could shed some light on it here? Nikki, how did your husband do the plexiglass magnetic window? Any chance you could explain it? We have a garage studio that we need to weatherproof (it gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter) and your idea is perfect for letting in the natural light. I’m gearing up for the 12 week starter workshop and it would be great to have this in place before I start!

  4. This was really helpful. I have only shot outside. But it’s winter, and I also have a full time job. By the time I leave work in the evening, it’s pitch black outside. So right now I only have my apartment to work with.

  5. I finally get the chance to see this!!! Thanks Nikki for sharing your little piece of heaven with all us!!! Sue, this was simply good. Making it happen as well!

  6. This was terrific as I am working in a small space out of my home. I took over my dining room, painted it white and got my vflats and polys. Sue and Nikki, my studio is your studio if you ever want to shoot in CT. I’d love for you to descend on my little space. Please?

  7. I have been waiting 18 months to convert my garage, it will be happening early next year I can’t wait! It’s slightly bigger than Nikki’s but this is great inspiration thank you Nikki!

  8. A HUGE “Thank You!” to Nikki for allowing us into her space and showing us what is possible. It’s a light airy and feminine space and I can see why many feel at home and comfortable. Thank you, Sue for this! Priceless!!

  9. Cute place Nikki – you look beautiful! Sue – thank you (again) – I can see love for Nikki all over your face, and your love for teaching us is contagious. This particular video is pouring over with inspiration and hope. Sending a big hug, and thank you to you both. 🙂

  10. LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOVE this Live Class … Sue & Nikki, this one is so so so inspirational on so many different levels… The content, the beautiful space, your radiant energy & little extra tips … MERCI… XxxWen

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this video. It seems that each upcoming LIVE video somehow correlates with the latest hurtle I am jumping over. My husband and I are now looking into whether or not we can have a business from our home due to the HOA. If we can, then we will work around the clock to transform the garage into a studio. I just went onto amazon like you suggested and got the artist drop cloth and chalkboard paint. You are the inspiration I needed to know it is possible 🙂

  12. Thank you both so much for this. I’ve just been going through ‘I can’t ask people for x amount of money if I’m shooting in a tiny space’, so this has been a revelation and an inspiration!

  13. So glad to see this video, it made me see the light again. Thank you so much, Always looking forward to your “thuesday video”. Always touching the right subject for me. Thank you Sue, Nikki and the team!

  14. Watching it now and OMG, how I love it. I have a small space in my house and this inspired me so much!
    P.S. I vote yes for “Sue Studio takeover!” (Miami edition ;))

  15. Absolutely fantastic video! I have a sun room which will be perfect for this set up. Sliding doors with sheers covering. I wasn’t sure it would work as it’s so small. Seeing this has really encouraged me to start putting it into use… thank you Nikki and Sue 🙂 xx

  16. This is beyond perfect! I know that the idea behind this shoot was to focus on small spaces, which is exactly what I have. I work the hell out of my space…EVERY SHOOT!!! But, this video ended up being an incredible training resource that I’m going to implement with my assistants. For the life of me, I have never been able to direct my assistants CONFIDENTLY…I feel like they know my secrets…it’s very strange I know…but thank you so much, Sue & Nikki…I can’t wait for the day that I have someone that can work with me in this capacity. Just brilliant!

    1. My space is so small that I’ve had clients ask, where is the studio after we’ve selected their wardrobe! HAHAHA

  17. Just joined this amazing community and WOW, just wow. One question from this Seattle Live video is: how do you manage the light on Grey rainy days ? I am from the UK, so we get a lot of them ! x

  18. This is fantastic. I’ll be converting my garage to a studio space soon and this couldn’t come at a better time. Showing that shooting in small spaces can work has given me some peace of mind. Thank you Nikki & Sue for this. X

  19. This is by far the most amazing video I’ve seen on the website until now (well they’re ALL amazing but everyone has one that strikes a chord more than the others, and that one is mine) ! Nikki you’re such an inspiration, and Sue, let me take you on your words, I’ll have a studio ready if you want to come to Tokyo and shoot there !

  20. Oh my goodness I’m so glad to see that the vflats have fallen on people, lol. I always worry that I look so unprofessional when that sort of thing happens to me! I rigged up a backdrop once with a curtain, a rod and shoestrings, and it came down on the client’s head, lol.

    1. Haha, once a V flat was going to fall on a kid I was photographing, and I leaned forward to grab it, the camera swings forward and hits the kid in the face! Not my best moment lol

    2. My goodness, I thought I was the only one. Was killing myself laughing while she was talking about that